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Tyndall collaborates with European partners to create Open Access Pilot Line for SMEs

Posted on: 03 Dec 2018

Tyndall collaborates with European partners to create Open Access Pilot Line for SMEs
Representatives of the parties involved at the project kick-off meeting in Eindhoven this week.

Photonics is an emerging technology with a potential multitrillion market. Innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the forefront of this development, but the R&D costs are prohibitive for them. That’s why 12 partners from northwestern Europe are creating an open access pilot line that will drastically reduce costs and time for the pilot production of new products. This new facility is projected to be the incubator of a thousand new companies and thousands of jobs. The 14 million euro project (OIP4NWE) is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and kicks off this week in Eindhoven.

The new project will be led by Eindhoven University of Technology (in collaboration with its Photonic Integration Technology Centre) with Tyndall managing the back-end (packaging) process of the pilot line.

The aim of the project is to build an efficient pilot production line for shared use by European SMEs, minimizing the defect rate in pilot production and reducing the throughput cycletime. All in all, this should lead to a cost reduction which significantly lowers the threshold for developing new photonic products.

OIP4NWE recognised Tyndall’s leading activities in advanced integrated photonics packaging, especially through PIXAPP the European Photonics Assembly and Packaging Pilot Line. Tyndall will play an essential role in the back-end process of the project performing the assembly of fiber-optic connections and electronic activities while the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will develop the micro-optics for beam shaping and light coupling. The front-end process (production of PICs on indium phosphide wafers) will be realized in the existing NanoLab@TU/e cleanroom facility at Eindhoven Technical University.

Speaking about the open access pilot line Prof. Peter O’Brien, Tyndall Photonics said; “This new initiative strengthens Tyndall’s European relationships in photonics and will support the long-term sustainability of advanced photonics packaging in Europe and across the world; through the creation of collaborations with leading research institutes (TU/E, VUB), industrial partners (AIXTRON, Oxford Instruments Nanotechnology Tools, VTEC laser & sensors, mBryonics, Technobis, SMART photonics) and cluster organisations  (Photonics Bretagne photonics innovation Hub, NanoMicroMaterialsPhotonics NMWP and Photon Delta)".

Example of photonic integrated circuits. Photo: Florian Lemaitre

The first stage of the project is equipment installation. The second stage focusses on automation of the equipment while a third stage will involve intensive industrial research together with equipment manufacturers to optimize and develop new processes. The Pilot Line should be fully in operation in 2022. To incentivize uptake by SMEs, an attractive cost-share funding scheme will be established by the Pilot Line.

For full details of this project, see: https://www.tue.nl/en/news/news-overview/29-11-2018-new-pilot-line-will-be-incubator-of-photonics-multinationals-of-the-future/#top

To make Tyndall specific enquiries, please contact: Prof. Peter O’Brien, Tyndall Photonics, peter.obrien (at) tyndall (dot) ie, tel +353 (0)21 2346841.